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Chromium
(Cr III or Chromium picolinate)


open quote logo graphics Suffering from diabetes? You need to get enough of this trace element. It is shown to be effective in helping with controlling diabetes in clinical trials. close quote logo image



logo plant natural remedies recommendations

If you suffer from diabetes, take at least 200 mcg once a day of this essential mineral. Increase it up to 1,000 mcg daily to if it will help stabilize and bring down your blood sugar levels. Let your doctor know and also measure your blood sugar levels more frequently until you find out how it affects you.

You may try to eat foods rich in chromium or simply take a chromium pill supplement. Don't rely on getting it from your multi-vitamin as most will not have enough to give you any benefit.

Also include an exercise program that you enjoy to do. (If you don't enjoy it, you won't follow it.) Exercising and watching what you eat are very important in those suffering from diabetes and is the recommended first step in controlling your blood sugar levels.

Don't bother taking this mineral for helping you loose weight; it doesn't seem to help.

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Table of Contents





Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Diabetes/Gestational diabetes

Many clinical studies show that this mineral helps with lowering blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Studies also suggest that it could help those with low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

If you are pregnant, use this supplement for controlling gestational diabetes only under the supervision of your family doctor.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Weight loss from taking diabetic medications

Some prescription diabetic medications may cause weigh gain. This mineral seems to help slow down the weight gain in those people.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal High Cholesterol

Several animal studies showed that this mineral could lower high cholesterol but there are studies that so no benefit.

There are much better natural remedies for high cholesterol. Consider taking omega-3 fatty acids to lower high cholesterol.
 

Metabolic Syndrome - Probably not effective

A recent study done in those who do not have diabetes but suffering from metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes risks) showed that this supplement did not help. It did not improve body weight, cholesterol levels, inflammation or other measures of glucose response.


Weight loss - Probably not effective

Studies done in humans showed that this mineral does not have any effective on their body weight.


Bodybuilding enhancement - Probably not effective

Chromium is a popular product used by bodybuilders. The poorly designed studies showed that it helped and the well-designed studies showed no benefit in reducing weight, body fat or in increasing muscle strength.



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Facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is it?

Also known as Cr III, it is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in many types of foods. Your body requires it in small quantity. There are many states that this mineral exists in. Cr III is the non-toxic form and is considered to be very safe to use. Cr VI (hexavalent form) is highly toxic to our body and is known to cause cancer.

What are the suggested health benefits of taking this mineral?

It is used by the body to regulate and control the action of insulin and, to some extend, fat metabolism.

Chromium picolinate is the most common form sold in health food stores and is marketed to help with improving athletic performance and reducing body fat. It is also sold to help diabetics lower their high blood sugar levels and for weight loss. There are some small research studies to suggest that it can also lower high cholesterol. Click here to jump to this section.

What foods contain this mineral?

Foods that contain this mineral include meats, chicken, fish, brewer's yeast, brown sugar, coffee, tea, nuts, seeds, prunes, dark chocolate, whole wheat and certain brands of beer and wine.

What is niacin bound chromium?

Chromium polynicotinate is the other name. It's called this because it is attached to a niacin molecule.

Can I enhance the absorption of this mineral into my system?

In our reviews of research studies, expert have shown that Vitamin C and/or zinc enhanced this mineral's absorption into the body.

Can taking this mineral cause skin problems and dermatitis?

Yes, is it possible if you suffer from allergies to chromate or clothing made out of leather. Symptoms would include redness and itchy skin.

This is only likely to happen if you take more than the recommended dose. The doses found in most multivitamins are very small and is not expected to cause any side effects.

What is Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF)?

Don't confuse GTF with chromium. Some manufacturers mistakenly (or intentionally) describe their product as GTF chromium. GTF is a complex molecule that also includes chromium.

Didn't a movie showed the dangers of chromium exposure?

Yes indeed. The movie is called Erin Brockovich. The town people were exposed to Cr VI in their drinking water supply. The hexavalent form, used for industrial processes, is highly toxic to our body and is well known to cause cancer.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

Commonly reported side effects reported include:
  • stomach aches
  • nausea and vomiting
Rare side effects include:
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • mood changes

What dangers can I expect from an overdose of this mineral?

Dose as high as 1,000 mcg per day has been used safely in research studies with no reports of side effects or dangers to the body organs.

Are there any reports of liver or kidney damage from taking chromium?

There have been reports of people suffering from kidney and liver problems with even low dose of this mineral found in combination products. It is impossible to blame it on the chromium when there are many other herbs and minerals in them. However, studies using very high dose taken for a long time doesn't show any danger to the kidney or liver.

As a precaution, if you suffer from any kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor before you start on this mineral.

What is the safety profile?

This mineral is shown to be very safe in many research studies done in humans even with dose as high as 1,000 mcg taken daily.

Dose up to 4,000 mcg has been use by some diabetes researchers without any significant dangers or risks to the subjects.

What about using chromium during pregnancy and lactation?

The dosage found in many multivitamins is 5 to 30 mcg per pill. This is a completely safe range. Higher dose up to 500 mcg has been used safely but let your doctor know that you are taking it.

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Dosage & How to Take It

The typical dose for adults recommended by experts is about 30 mcg.

Diabetes -
Take at least 400 mcg daily. Clinical studies have safely used chromium picolinate or polynicotinate up to 1,000 mcg daily. It is important to let your doctor know that you are taking this supplement.

Selected References for Chromium
Updated: March 13, 2010

 

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